Life (2015): Review

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“I lose myself in my roles, I don’t want to lose myself in all this other stuff”

When I found out that this movie was in the works, it felt like forever until the release date. I’ve always been fascinated by James Dean and his era, and within the last 18 months my love for Dane Dehaan has grow profoundly – so Life was a must see. Many reviews have criticised Dehaan’s performance and the lack of a gripping storyline, but hear me out and I might just convince you to give it a shot.

This biography captures a time in James Dean’s life when he meets photographer Dennis Stock – portrayed by Robert Pattinson. Dean was on the brink of changing popular culture and with the help of Stocks persistency and talent, he succeeded. East of Eden  had just been released and Rebel Without a Cause was on the horizon. Stuck in limbo, James was torturing himself between his infatuation with acting and Hollywoods expectations of him. Stock observers his awkward, introvert nature. The way that James moves, the way he holds himself in various environments, charms the photographer and after a small road trip around America, they produce some of the most iconic images of that era.

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USA. New York City. 1955. James DEAN.


Life 
isn’t a high-concept feature showing off the glitz and glam of Hollywood. Corbijn has captured a moment in time. Not only do we study James Dean, but we learn about the man behind the camera, the creator of the authentic and recognised images of an iconic young actor. When we look at old photographs, rarely do we know what happened before or after they were taken, however, Life fills in the gaps around this particular collection of images.

Dane Dehaan portrays James Dean as a free spirited rascal with a love for acting but a dislike for Hollywood; a heartthrob and a trend setter. You want to look at him and keep looking. The dialogue between him and Dennis Stock is poetic and witty. You’re welcomed into his mind to pick apart his thoughts. He’s quiet but he says a lot. James is very much
overwhelmed by the consequences of his lifestyle, which results in his ‘bad boy’ persona.

When watching a biopic, it’s important not to get too wrapped up with the portrayal of the character being identical to who they were in real life. Humans are complex and mirroring each other is impossible, but I think Dehaan has done a great job.

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USA. Indiana. Fairmount. 1955. In 1955 James DEAN returned to his roots, the town of Fairmount where he was raised and educated. He visits the farm of his uncle Marcus WINSLOW, and in the dining room reads some poetry by James WHITCOMB RILEY.

If you’re a lover of James Dean, vintage Hollywood or photography then you’ll definitely enjoy this movie. Watch two men go from state to state creating and endorsing themselves in art.

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Orange is the New Black Season 4: Review

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Last month Netflix blessed us once again with a brand new season of Orange is the New Black. SO many feelings, and here they are…

Firstly, lets appreciate the characters; we have new ones, and we have old ones, which have either blossomed or developed into not-so-likeable ladies. Cindy’s new bunk-mate Alison Abdullah is one of my favourite newcomers to Litchfield. I enjoy the bickering and their need to split the bunk in half because of their religious differences. However, when it comes down to it, they’re both criminals who are up to mischief in the prison and they can work together regardless of which God they worship. I was also fascinated by Lolly’s character. Last season didn’t give us a grasp on what she was about, however, throughout season 4 I’ve fallen in love with her! The way she has led us to learn about an important aspect of Mr Healy’s life is brilliant. Her dialogue is hilarious and the character raises awareness of mental illness. OITNB incorporates social issues very adequately throughout the whole programme. Last season we witnessed the rape of an inmate by a guard and a trans woman’s hormone treatment being taken away. These narratives create discussion, which is so important, and I love it. One of my favourite aspects of OITNB – and I’m sure everyone will agree – is the background stories we get to see of who the characters were before prison life, and how they managed to end up in those orange overalls. We were lucky to see quite a few this season but my favourite HAS to be Suzanne’s (Crazy Eyes) story. Uzo Aduba is an extraordinary actress and the way that she portrays this character has always led to my heart melting. She’s a misunderstood woman, full of love and excitement. It’s great how the writers have stuck to continuously developing all of the characters on the show, rather than making everything about Piper, because lets not kid ourselves – we all hate her.

I have to be honest, I really didn’t enjoy season 3. Sure, Ruby Rose and her whole sexual presence was exciting but the storylines were pretty bland and the ending was shocking. A load of women jumping around in a lake is just not a season finale. So, understandably, I was apprehensive when season 4 arrived. However, the influx of new characters created better storylines for the co-exhesting ones, and I was swept off of my feet again. Half way through the season I even found myself feeling a little bit sorry for Piper!
The most prominent storyline, and one which has had an affect on everything and everyone in Litchfield Penitentiary is the arrival of the devil himself – Desi Piscatella – and his posse. He’s white, he’s a man and he’s militant; thats exactly what you want in a multicultural women’s prison. Some of the most shocking events which occurred this season (you know the one) have revolved around  ‘the new guards’ narrative. The writers have skilfully incorporated an external influence into the prison to stir everything up, more so than it already was. They have also effectively made sure that there weren’t too many storylines, or any standalone plots. Everything tied in well together and I’m glad that my preyers were answered and they slowly weeded out that ‘ladies panties selling’ storyline.

All in all, I really enjoyed season 4. It was the perfect blend of humour and drama. I’m gutted I watched it so quickly but I’ll never learn. I do have some burning questions/statements though…

Whats going to happen to Sophia now?

PLEASE don’t tell me Daya has shot that idiot.

But why do you tease us with Ruby Rose for 20 seconds?

Everyone must smother Soso with love.

Where the fuck is John Bennett?

What the hell is going on with Red’s eye makeup?

 

Let me know what you thought of the latest season of Orange is the New Black!

 

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How Hollywood is Failing to be Feminist

Failing miserably.

So I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of Hollywood regurgitating classic films. What’s angering me ever more is when they decide to make the leading cast female, just to be like “Oh look! Look at us making movies with lots of women! Are you happy now?” No.

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Stage Door, 1938

The release of the female ensemble Ghostbusters has sparked these particular feelings inside of me. I haven’t seen the film yet, I might do, I enjoyed Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig so much in Bridesmaids but that was an original screenplay, not a gender-swap remake.

The issue with Hollywood is that they do not produce screenplays which have strong, leading female characters, with a well written plot to coincide the role. And when they OCCASIONALLY do, the women are predominantly white. I mean look at the Marvel movies, how long has it taken them to finally agree to a standalone, female superhero movie? Too bloody long.

My point, in relation to Ghostbusters, is that Hollywood needs to write and create original cinema that has compelling female characters of various races and sexualities, instead of recycling old stories. Film always has and always will be an influential medium for society and with well written stories and strong characters it could just help a little towards slaying gender inequality (I’m all about that). Diversity within the industry is just being dealt with in the wrong way. Hollywood films ooze masculinity because the best roles are always written for men, therefore, male actors are given a greater opportunity. It’s tough enough being an actor, but can you imagine not being a white, cisgender male in that world?!

Another problem is that when Hollywood has attempted to create these strong, female roles, masculinity is still so prominent. Remember The Long Kiss Goodnight? Don’t get me wrong, I loved that film and I totally wanted to be a female assassin-boss after I watched it, BUT, the way she is portrayed still focuses around adopting masculine traits. She behaves like a stereotypical man, however, is still super sexy, so don’t worry lads, this film is still for YOU! Characters should be written which can only be portrayed by a woman, rather than man and woman – because usually, Hollywood will go for the man.

The image above of Katharine Hepburn is so relevant and brilliant. Even back in the 1930’s, women were challenging the Hollywood industry. She confronted the impression of women on and off screen, only portrayed the roles she felt were right and just basically did whatever the hell she wanted. You’ve come a long way Hollywood, but still have further to go.

Let me know who your favourite female characters are!

 

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The Fundamentals of Caring: Review

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Okay Hollywood you NEED to make more movies like this please.
A feel-good film that addresses a sensitive issue with respect and humour.  The Fundamentals of Caring will warm your heart and make you laugh and laugh and laugh again.

This is the second American film so far this year centring around a man who is unable to live a ‘normal’ lifestyle due to his disability. Those of you familiar with Me Before You, will know that critics hit hard on that film due to the representation of disabilities and a pretty shit ending.

The Fundamentals of Caring tells the story of a man who retires from his writing career after a personal tragedy. He decides to become a caregiver for a disabled teenager and this is where Paul Rudd meets Craig Roberts’ character, Trevor. The humour begins with their relationship. They bicker, laugh together and Rudd even assists him on the toilet – true friendship that is. After some convincing on Trevor’s part, the two characters decide to bite the bullet and go on a road trip together to see a really big cow and the largest pit in the world. It’s literally as ridiculous as it sounds but thats the point. Along this trip, Trevor meets a love interest (Selena Gomez), goes on his first ever date and finds out his dad is a big loser. The film beautifully portrays how individuals with disabilities can still find love, friendship and create memories through experiences.

I think the biggest problem with Me Before You was the characters end decision of suicide and his bitter attitude throughout the film. Rather than creating a positive awareness for living life with a disability, the film had a general attitude of – unless you can live a conventional lifestyle then whats the point?

The Fundamentals of Caring won’t disappoint. Well done to Netflix for producing a film which is a step in the right direction.

 

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The Forgotten Women of Westeros

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And no not Daenerys et al.

If you read my previous post you’ll know how obsessed I am with Game of Thrones (I’ve got a hoody from Primark to prove it). I’m still hyping over the season six finale and I will probably, most definitely, be very emotional on Monday morning because there will be no new episode to watch. SO, I thought I’d milk the hype EVEN more and do a post about the show.

I’m all over the fan theories that people have been writing on social media but my brain does not work that well to think up one of those. So this is a post about the ladies of the land, the forgotten women of westeros.

Obviously I love Daenerys (she is our Queen), Cersie’s drive is inspirational, Arya is pretty unhinged but badass and I guess Sansa’s alright. But what about all the other women who are cracking on and fighting for their cause?

 

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YARA GREYJOY

All Hail the Queen of the Iron Islands! (Well, hopefully)

From the moment we see this character on screen we know she’s badass – even though she’s not introduced to us as a Greyjoy. Remember that horrifying look on Theon’s face when he realises he’s just seduced his sister? Awkward.
Her father raised her like a son, which is very unusual within this patriarchal world. She proves to be stronger, wittier and a better leader than her younger brother. After Theon is captured by House Bolton in season two, we see Yara gather fifty of the Isles best killers to  rescue him, despite her feelings towards him and his foolish actions. These men respect her, they fight for her and almost see her as an equal.
Lets talk about season six. After the murder of Yara and Theon’s father, Yara makes it clear that his death will be avenged and with the support of her brother, announces that she will succeed her father on the Salt Throne. Unsurprisingly, this pisses a lot of men off, which leads her to sail to Queen Daenerys, where they exchange flirtatious chitchat, bitch about each others father’s and make a pact to slay together. Our Queen is lucky to have this woman by her side.

 

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MEERA REED 

The Winter Hippy.

Meera has been brought up in the North, which has made her into a true believer of The Old Gods of the Forrest. Yes, she into her trees and frogs but she’s also a pretty fierce lady who we’ve seen courageously protect her brother Jojen and Bran Stark throughout the show. In season three, Meera holds a knife to Osha’s throat so that she’ll drop the spear she has aimed at Jojen. Osha claims that Jojen must be ashamed to have to rely on his sister for protection. Obviously no one agrees. Meera has a similar spirit to Arya Stark, but a little less psycho. In the latest season, she kills several wight walkers when the Night King comes after Bran. She is loyal to the men who need her protection and knows what must be done when winter arrives. Also, now that Hordor is no longer with us, she is going to have to carry Bran EVERYWHERE. May the Old Gods bless her.

 

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OSHA

Wildling. North of the Wall. Pledged allegiance to House Stark.

Be honest, how long did it take you to realise that she’s Tonks from Harry Potter? Because it took me a while. Osha is as wild as the wild-ladies get. She has a big spear and is ready to destroy anybody that gets in her way. She hunts, murders and uses her sexuality to seduce the men who are a threat to her, Bran and Rickon Stark. Osha plays a very important role in the discovery of who the Little Lord is and the powers he possesses. She warns Bran of the nightmares that live beyond the wall and encourages him to speak to anyone who will listen about the wight walkers. She is the true embodiment of ‘Winter is Coming’. After season three, we don’t see her again until two seasons later in ‘Book of the Stranger’. Osha attempts to seduce Ramsey Bolton in hopes of killing him, however, he proves to not be as much of an idiot as Theon Greyjoy, and well…we know how that ends.

 

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MISSANDEI

From Slave to Sovereign.

I absolutely love Missandei. She brings a calm and crisp, but firm presence to the show. Her journey from being a slave to the Queen’s Handmaiden and a key contributor to the Small Council is heartening. Her strength comes from her mind as she teaches the people around her about the history of The Seven Kingdoms. Missandei’s wisdom reaches out to Daenerys, Tyrion Lannister and of course Grey Worm – who begins to swoon over her when she starts teaching him the common tongue. She’s an important woman for Daenerys to have by her side and her character is a perfect representation of the beauty that comes from the female brain. Although she is absolutely gorgeous, her inner abilities are effectively portrayed and we watch her grow in strength each season. Her knowledge has gotten the Queen far and will continue to do so when they finally arrive at King’s Landing. Cersie may know a little about wildfire but she ain’t got nothing on Missandei. Valar morghulis.

 

Let me know which other women of Westeros need recognition!

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